A Grant Professional Association colleague of mine likes to challenge nonprofits and grant writers with asking them, “So what?” Likewise it’s a challenge to researchers. As an open-ended question, this stops people in their tracks about their or the organization’s mission and goals. It should stop academic scientists too. To me, it is about taking time to consider the following questions about your research: [Read more…]
A frequent piece of advice in academic science is to have someone else read your grant proposal before submission. That advice usually means having a colleague review your grant proposal. Another pair of scientifically literate eyes can determine whether your ideas engage the reader and tell a good research story. An extra pair of eyes can also find grammatical, spelling, and syntax errors.
Grant writing and reviewing groups are advantages within research associations and collaborations where this kind of collegial review occurs for a few lucky scientists. The rest of the research community is mostly on its own. Most faculty members are on their own because they are just as busy as their mythic colleague with the duties of teaching, research, and service. Likely, nobody has the time required for a deep review of a proposal that isn’t theirs. The mythic colleague doesn’t have time for significant mentoring through the grant proposal process either. [Read more…]
What kind of life is possible after the dissertation? What kind of a career is for me outside academia?
These are a couple of the important questions that arise from Jacquelyn Gill’s Blog Carnival call on What’s Your Post-PhD Story? Pieces of my post PhD story are within this website and elsewhere, but for personal reasons I won’ t link them here.
Graduate school, postdoctoral experience, and the tenure track position for me all happened in the 1980s. In my opinion and from personal observation, that decade saw increasing numbers of women in the life sciences and other STEM disciplines. This is the beginning the numerical parity with men that exists now in biology. It is also the decade, where molecular biology really began to advance in a significant way. [Read more…]
Professional development should be a part of any and every career. As a former faculty member, faculty development, whether in teaching or scholarship was part of that life. As a scientist, attending scientific meetings, presenting papers at the same, participating in various topic workshops was a part of not only professional development, but also about communication of scientific findings to the research community. As part of both faculty and scientific professional development I attended a few grant writing workshops whether sponsored by the university or an outside organization.
It’s been a few years since I attended or presented at any kind of professional conference, but not even a year ago, I jumped in with both feet as a volunteer with the first Southern Regional Grant Conference of the Grant Professional Association (GPA), organized by the Georgia chapter of the GPA. That act opened new opportunities for career development as a grant consultant. Last fall, I attended the national conference of the GPA held in Baltimore, MD. Every workshop or group session connected to professional development in some way. It was refreshing to realize that the 20 years I spent researching, writing, and administrating scientific and a few educational grants in my career as a college professor between teaching and service requirements was the perfect training ground for a grant consultant. One of the best things about the conference was no one seemed to be worried about “getting scooped” with research results in the rush to publish or about intellectual property. There still is a lot to learn from this wide variety of grant professionals.
Just eleven months ago the Georgia chapter of the GPA was putting the final touches on their first conference. Now, the second Southern Regional Grant Conference begins Thursday. The conference agenda and workshop topic schedule is here. Use #srgc14 to follow the conference on Twitter or join us at the live feed. Check out my workshop on Scientific Research and Academic Grants: A Guide for the Curious, which I will embed here after the event. I’m looking forward to the next GPA conference in Portland, OR to grow professionally as a consultant, work with my colleagues as the chair of the new Science Special Interest Group, and prepare for certification as a grant professional through the Grant Professional Certification Institute.
Academic grantsmanship seems like a deadly dull topic for these late summer days. The summer is far from over, but it is back to school for many in higher education. It is an ideal time to discuss the meaning and significance of grantsmanship for those preparing for the tenure track, on the tenure track, the tenured, outside the tenure track, and even those moving toward promotion as a new academic year begins.
Grantsmanship matters because it is tied to employment. Both are uneasy partners in higher education, especially for scientists. Grants support both undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, research scientists, technicians, and even non scientific support staff with proper justification. Assistant and associate professors hear the term from colleagues and administrators when applying for tenure or promotion. Grantsmanship mattered before the current budget woes and funding sequester. It matters during these times and it will matter in the future.
What does this term mean to academics?